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So what’s important in public worship?

(Click here if you missed Part 1)

Do you have all day? Me either. Let’s keep things basic then. There are a few themes from the Word we know we need to include, and there are as many variations on those themes as there are congregations.

Acts 2.42 includes four key elements (emphasis is mine):

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Hebrews 10.24-25 adds a couple more

…Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Colossians 3.14-17 is more inclusive, but worth noting

Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

We could easily find more, resulting in a long and varied list of things we might want to include in our time together. Cramming everything important into an hour and a few minutes is a huge challenge for the church with definite time constraints. Lord, help us! We need focus – and we need to move distractions off to the side somehow.

Each congregation has a handful of factors that make it unique:

  • A congregation in the high plains is going to emphasize different things than a church in the heart of the city.
  • A group who recently broke away from a church that had abandoned the truth is going to focus differently than a century-old church at the center of town.
  • A flock made up primarily of new believers is not going to approach their public worship the same way as a gathering of seasoned saints.

Despite their differences they all have one thing in common: Public worship suffers when things happen that disrupt it. We pray, plan, pray, study, practice and prepare, pray again just before the service begins and STILL things happen that get in the way!

Here’s what I’d like to suggest as our working definition for distraction:

A worship distraction is anything that diverts or deflects someone’s attention to something less important than the worship in progress.

Think about that a bit and see if that will work for you. Some we can’t control. I remember one church being subject to snippets of two-way radio conversations coming in over the PA system when trucks passed the church … when it was below freezing out. There are many we can control – or at least lessen their impact.

In Part 3 – A useful way to establish what’s important, teaching as you go.

In Part 4 – Identifying common distractions and some effective (FREE) solutions. None of these will touch your ministry budget!!

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